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Passion Fruit Pudding Cakes

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Passion Fruit Pudding Cakes
Pudding cakes are sometimes called self-saucing cakes, as a pudding-like custard forms beneath an airy sponge cake while ht dessert is in the oven. I most often make lemon and chocolate pudding cakes, but they can be made with other flavors, as well. Tropical passion fruit is an excellent choice in these individual pudding cakes, delivering just the right amount of tropical flavor in each spoonful.

Passion fruit is not a citrus fruit, but it has a high acidity that is reminiscent of citrus and keeps the pulp of the fruit from being too sweet, though it is intensely tropical. It substitutes well into recipes where you might ordinarily use citrus for a different flavor twist. Passion fruit can be juiced easily if you find the fresh fruit in your local markets, but can also be found frozen at specialty stores when it is not in season so that you can have it readily available any time you want some. The juice/pulp is incorporated into a relatively thin batter made with flour, sugar and egg yolks. I included a teaspoon of lemon zest in the ingredients, though you can omit it if you don’t have any lemons on hand. The lemon zest helps brighten up the acidity of the passion fruit and makes the floral, tropical notes seem to stand out even more. Egg whites are folded in to give the cake structure as it starts to set in the oven.

During baking, the pudding separates into a curd-like custard and a tender sponge cake, though the cake is moister than most traditional sponge cakes will be. It is possible to overbake the pudding and end up with less curd than you might hope for, but if that happens simply check the pudding a few minutes earlier or fill up your water bath a bit higher the next time. The dessert is tropical, with just the right balance of tang and sweetness, and offers a fun and easy way to enjoy passion fruit.

Passion Fruit Pudding Cakes
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1/4 cup fresh passion fruit puree
1 tsp lemon zest (optional)
2/3 cup milk (whole or low fat)
2 large egg whites, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350F. Take four 8-ounce ramekins and arrange them in a large 9×13-inch pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Add in egg yolks, passion fruit puree, lemon zest and milk and whisk thoroughly until batter is smooth and well-combined.
In a medium bowl, beat egg whites to stiff peaks. Gently whisk or fold egg whites into lemon mixture, until no streaks of egg white remain visible. Divide pudding mixture into prepared ramekins and place in the roasting pan. Place the pan in the oven and fill it with water until the water comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake for about 35 minutes, or until puddings are set. Allow puddings to cool for 10 minutes in the water bath, then carefully transfer them to a wire rack to cool. Serve slightly warm.

Makes 4.

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